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Health Care Providers: Otolaryngologists

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What Is Otolaryngology?

Otolaryngology (oh-toh-lar-un-GAHL-uh-jee) is the medical specialty that deals with diseases and problems of the ear, nose, and throat.

What Is an Otolaryngologist?

An otolaryngologist (oh-toh-lar-un-GAHL-uh-jist), often called an ENT, is a doctor who studies, diagnoses, prevents, and treats diseases and conditions of the ear, nose, and throat.

Why Would Someone Need One?

Otolaryngologists care for people with ear, nose, and throat problems such as:

They do medical tests and procedures such as:

What Is Their Training?

An otolaryngologist's training includes:

  • 4 years of pre-medical education at a college or university
  • 4 years of medical school — a medical degree (MD) or doctor of osteopathic medicine (DO) degree
  • 5 years of residency training, including:
    • 1 year of training in a general surgery residency
    • 4 years of training in an otolaryngology residency

They also might have:

  • expertise in a subspecialty area (for example, pediatric otolaryngology, head and neck, or plastic/reconstruction) after 2 years or more in a fellowship program. A “fellow” is a doctor who had more specialty training after completing medical school and residency training.

Good to Know

  • ENTs often work with allergy specialists to treat problems in the ears, nose, sinuses, and throat caused by allergies.
  • Advancements in robotic and laser surgery have made ENT procedures to the head and neck less invasive.
Date reviewed: September 2022